The best book series according to my twelve-year-old

Krista Van Dolzer Author Of Earth to Dad
By Krista Van Dolzer

Who am I?

As a mom who loves to read (and write!), I’ve always hoped and prayed my kids would fall in love with reading, too. That said, I’ve always been careful not to force them into it, not to somehow make them feel like my hobbies had to be theirs. When my twelve-year-old devoured Harry Potter in mere weeks, I was practically ecstatic. And when I heard her tell her brothers at the height of the pandemic, “Books get you out of the house and let you go somewhere new,” I knew that they’d become for her what they’ve always been for me: a window to another world. 


I wrote...

Earth to Dad

By Krista Van Dolzer,

Book cover of Earth to Dad

What is my book about?

How do you talk to your dad if he’s colonizing Mars? Build a transceiver, of course. But what happens when it breaks?

Earth to Dad is a standalone, so I’m kind of cheating here, but I include it on this list because, according to my twelve-year-old, it’s the best book I’ve written. I hope you enjoy it, too!

The books I picked & why

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

By J.K. Rowling,

Book cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Why this book?

Harry Potter is the series that got my twelve-year-old reading, and I’m not at all surprised. J.K. Rowling’s timeless writing turned them into instant classics, and as my daughter pointed out when I asked her why she liked them, the plots are superbly structured, with super dynamic endings that tie up all their loose ends. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

By J.K. Rowling,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Galloping gargoyles ... 2022 is the silver anniversary of J.K. Rowling's magical classic Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!

The boy wizard Harry Potter has been casting a spell over young readers and their families ever since 1997. Now the first book in this unmissable series celebrates 25 years in print! The paperback edition of the tale that introduced us to Harry, Ron and Hermione has been updated and dressed in silver to mark the occasion. It's time to take the magical journey of a lifetime ...

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping…


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

By Chris Grabenstein,

Book cover of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Why this book?

Who doesn't love a mystery you can solve beside the sleuth? Fast-paced, fun, and also funny, these books encourage readers to solve puzzles, decrypt ciphers, and untangle anagrams, but they never get bogged down. According to my twelve-year-old, they’re page-turners through and through. 

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

By Chris Grabenstein,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets A Night in the Museum in this the action-packed New York Times bestseller from Chris Grabenstein, coauthor of I Funny and other bestselling series with James Patterson!

Kyle Keeley is a huge fan of all games - board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most famous and creative gamemaker in the world, is the genius behind the town's new library that is as much a home for tech and trickery as it is for stories. Kyle wins a spot at a puzzle-packed lock-in on the library's opening night.…


The False Prince

By Jennifer A. Nielsen,

Book cover of The False Prince

Why this book?

What I love about these books is the tongue-in-cheek narration and the snappy dialogue. What my twelve-year-old likes best is the MC’s fearlessness and the pop-off-the-page settings (see mansions with secret rooms and salt-crusted pirate ships). It’s a fun fantasy series that has recently ballooned from three books to five (or more?).

The False Prince

By Jennifer A. Nielsen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The False Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you love the danger and sword-fighting of MERLIN, you'll like this! In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point - he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. As Sage's…


Keeper of the Lost Cities

By Shannon Messenger,

Book cover of Keeper of the Lost Cities

Why this book?

I’ll be honest and admit that I gave up on this series after the second or third book, and yet I strongly suspected that my daughter would enjoy them—and she absolutely did. She loves the elvish cities and how keenly they’re described, and the idea that they’re here, somehow hidden on our world, captured her imagination. Oh, and I’m supposed to tell you that Keefe is hilarious.

Keeper of the Lost Cities

By Shannon Messenger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Keeper of the Lost Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestselling series
A USA TODAY bestselling series
A California Young Reader Medal-winning series

In this riveting series opener, a telepathic girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She's skipped multiple grades and doesn't really connect with the older kids at school, but she's not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie's a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret-at least, that's what she thinks...

But the day Sophie…


The Ruins of Gorlan: Book 1

By John Flanagan,

Book cover of The Ruins of Gorlan: Book 1

Why this book?

This is the only series here I haven't read a whole book of. (I read to my daughter at night, so I’ve caught snatches here and there.) She is only four books in, but she’s eager to read on. The one thing she likes best about Ranger’s Apprentice is how it’s one big, long story that keeps going, never stops.

The Ruins of Gorlan: Book 1

By John Flanagan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Ruins of Gorlan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Ruins of Gorlan is the first thrilling book in John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series - over eight million sold worldwide.

They have always scared him in the past - the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practise magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice.

What he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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